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[Recap] February 2011

It’s that busy time of year. Unfortunately, I’m talking about midterm cram-time, not blogging season. In fact, that period from February 5 to 21 where there are zero posts… Yeah, that says it all. I did manage to catch up on a few reviews at the end, though I still have some catching up to do. Not too much this month, just the following:

  • Album of the Month
  • Other really good albums
  • Other albums…
  • My personal favorites of the month

I only got around to reviewing five albums this month; I too am disappointed in myself. Three of these five are great (good ratio!), and one of those three is just a tad better. February’s Album of the Month is:

Album of the Month: Death & Legacy (Serenity)

Initially, I really liked Serenity‘s release, having tagged it with an A-. Given more time with Death Legacy (released February 25), I had decided to boost its rating from an A- to an A, but then back to an A-; it’s somewhere in between. It is not the perfect album, but it is a remarkable work of art. I would say it is almost as good as Fallen Sanctuary (Serenity’s previous release), but not quite at the same level. The instrumentals are less standout in this one, but it is well-compensated for with the symphony. I previously made it seem like the instrumentals were solely filler when in actuality they have a fairly reputable level of execution. They are simply patient and true to the music, not overly anxious to jump into the spotlight whenever they can. With patience and open-mindedness, it is an album that one can really embrace. Yes, it took awhile to get into, but it was well worth the wait.

Greater Albums

There were two other albums released this month that are great and personal recommendations. Both were of extremely different styles, but of similar high quality.

On February 5, Thomas Giles (Tommy Rogers of Between the Buried and Me) released a truly wonderful album. With an album of high quality such as Pulse, it is practically impossible to be disappointed. It showcases a massive collection of musical genres, and does so at an exceptional level. Music very rarely is as emotionally raw and naturally flowing as this album. It does have weaker, less interesting points throughout the album, but they are minuscule in significance and number. Pulse is not the perfect album, but it definitely has the right idea. It is an absolute recommended for the openly embracing listener.

Stand Up and Fight, released on February 23 by Turisas, is a very well done album. The only issue with it is its shell-shocking assault of epic tracks. It is not that they are all the same, though some can be too similar for my liking. But take “Hunting Pirates” and “βένετοι! – πράσινοι!” for example; two songs that are quite different but share the overwhelming epic feel and the high level delivery. The “problem” comes from the fact that every song, being epic and powerful and climatic, evokes the same emotional response every time. Because of this, the music loses the some of its depth. However, it gave itself much value with its musical mastery and workmanship to compensate for its aforementioned “problem”. Stand Up and Fight is an excellent collection of songs, but it could use a tad more to transcend into an excellent record. Nonetheless, it is still a personal recommendation.

Lesser Albums

I was hoping for much more out of these two albums (though I am always hoping for a lot). I am quite disappointed not because they are bad, but because they are not great.

Average… no other word better fits Regeneration. This is the latest album by Emerald Sun released on February 11. Everything regarding the style, musicianship, and instrumentals is extremely average. If you are willing to settle for generic power metal, this a doable album. But believe me, there is much more where this came from. Regeneration is merely sitting at the lower limits of power metal.

Being a big fan of Evergrey, I was highly anticipating Glorious Collision (February 25). I was hoping for a stellar album, and the band unfortunately did not deliver. It may be due to the erratic lineup or possibly that the band is unable to maintain both freshness and their signature style, but this album is a disappointment for a fan such as myself. It is not bad by any means; it retains the unique Evergrey sound with at least a remainder of the bands great talent. It just seems much too contrived and minimally executed (to Evergrey’s standards, of course) to draw a listener. There is little heartfelt inspiration nor any impressive technical composition to hold an audience. And given the high quality that can be found in the old Evergrey collection, this record really is not a necessary listen. I personally was hoping for a resurrection of the greatness of old Evergrey. But this is Glorious Collision… that pretty much says it all.

February Favorites

Studying works best when listening to familiar music. I have been doing a lot of catching up with nostalgia as of late, but I have also been managed to squeeze some new sounds into my ears.

My personal favorites of the month have been:

  • Artist: Evergrey
  • Album: Fallen Sanctuary (Serenity)
  • Song: “Martius-Nauticus II” (Pain of Salvation, BE)

Evergrey was also last year’s February’s personal favorite artist. Back then it was still “band” and not “artist”. Also, it’s been over a year since The Golden Bird’s inception and I didn’t even notice last month… time flies with The Golden Bird. I hope it will continue to do so. See you all around!

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